Ready or not, the holidays are upon us. The Halloween candy was barely tucked away when the stores nearly skipped Thanksgiving and began playing Christmas music amidst tinsel and garland. And the hustle and bustle of shopping … and decorating … and parties … and pageants … may gradually overwhelm us and our little ones – maybe even to the point of tears. We need a plan to ensure joy accompanies us throughout our holiday preparations.
A plan for our planning? It may seem like more thing to do but a little bit of intentionality can go a long way towards staving off tears:
- Practice mindfulness – live in the moment; Often the best gift we can give our children, partners and friends is our time and attention. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.” – Alice Morse Earle
- Practice gratitude – ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ are two of the “magic words” we teach our kids at a young age. There is plenty of research that highlights the benefits for adults, too, of being thankful and focusing on the positive things in our lives including stronger friendships, improved physical and emotional health, enhanced empathy and reduced aggression. “It is not happiness that makes us grateful. It’s gratefulness that makes us happy.” – David Steindel-Rast
- Practice generosity – of time, words and deeds through random acts of kindness. It can be as simple as opening the door for someone whose hands are full; or smiling as you walk into work; or complimenting your son or daughter for getting ready on time for school; or sharing a plate of cookies with the next-door neighbor. “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” – Oscar Wilde
- Practice self-care – start with healthy eating, regular exercise, and a good night’s sleep - and then add in time that is fun or relaxing or invigorating for you. When you take care of yourself, you have the energy and patience to care for others.
There may be tears this season. If there are, listen carefully - what are they saying? “I’m tired – I need a break.” “I’ve had too much sugar.” “I don’t want to go anywhere – I just want to go home.” Honor the tears with mindfulness, gratitude, generosity and self-care and celebrate with joy!